Cricket is not the top sport in Australia but the feeling that one gets while moving around the quiet coastal town is that of indifference among the local public in general about the game’s biggest spectacle.
Indian stars Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane walked down from the team hotel to the Adelaide Oval for a physical training session – a distance of around 300 meters – without catching much attention.
Considering their demi-God status and the hysteria that an India versus Pakistan match generates, it was really surprising to find not a single soul even turning back and looking at them as they came for their second session. In fact as they were about to cross the roads, the cars stopped let them cross the road and then zoomed off.
Similarly in-front of the main entrance of the Adelaide Oval, there wasn’t a single fan in sight as the stadium wore a deserted a look like any average Ranji Trophy match in India.
Even if the majority of the 53,500 (approx) seats at the Adelaide Oval get packed, it will be because fans from India and Pakistan make it a special occasion.
Most have come on a cricket holiday from nearby cities while a sizeable chunk has come from both sides of the border and from UK and the United States to support their players.
Ask any Australian on the Adelaide street about cricket World Cup, they would be more keen on talking about the Socceroos’ (Australian nation football team).
There isn’t a single billboard about the Cricket World Cup that would attract an onlooker’s attention apart from one at the Adelaide airport where Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Chris Gayle and Michael Clarke are advertising a particular bat manufacturing brand.
The ICC on its official website had stated that they had exhausted India versus Australia tickets but in reality there were limited number of free-passes based on registering on-line.
The Indian fans especially those who thronged to ground were the ones who registered online. So there were barely 10,000 people at the ground where most of the stands were empty.
If one looks at the history of marquee India versus Pakistan clashes on Australian soil, the presence of live spectators hasn’t been great.
The Benson and Hedges World Championship of Cricket final which India won at the MCG attracted barely 5000 people while the India versus
Pakistan World Cup match of 1992 at the Sydney Cricket Ground also had the same kind of live response.